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The Building Trades of Alberta coordinates and promotes the interests of 16 Alberta trade unions whose 75,000 members work in the residential, commercial and industrial construction, maintenance and fabrications industries.
Nationally, Building Trades of Alberta joins the other Provincial Councils that make up Canada's Building Trades Unions. Canada's Building Trades Unions, in turn, is a member of the Building and Construction Trades Department centred in Washington, D.C.
Stars Air Ambulance held a very successful "Building Magic in the Air Gala" Saturday night at the Chateau Lacombe. The BTA Charitable Foundation acted as the Project Manager Sponsor of the Gala for the 8th consecutive year. Representing the Foundation, Delanee Daviau spoke about the Foundation’s long record of providing time and money to support Stars’ crucial lifesaving work. The Charitable Foundation has donated $680,000 to Stars to date.
Read the full text of Delanee's speech:
Good evening, my name is Delanee Daviau and I am pleased to be here with you tonight from the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation joined by Members of our Board and our Volunteers.
2018 makes this the Foundation’s 17th year of operation, in those 17 years we have donated over 6.8 million dollars to over 60 charities in the province.
While trying to serve as many Albertans as possible we are faced with difficult decisions on who to grant donation requests to but… donating to STARS is never a hard decision.
For 8 years the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation has been the Project Manager Sponsor of this Gala. We don’t do it for the recognition, we don’t do it to be able to be here tonight, we do it because our members and their families and you and your families may one day need their services, and in times of tragedy, chaos and uncertainty we want to guarantee one thing- that STARS will be there.
The Unionized Construction industry in this province supports and will continue to support important lifesaving initiatives for the betterment of all Albertans. To date we have donated $680,000 to STARS, this has been made possible by the generosity of our Members and Stakeholders, not only financially but by volunteering their time.
BTA Charitable Foundation Present Stars Air Ambulance with cheque for $30,000, September 27, 2018 Delanee Daviau is pictured second frm the right.
At the Building Trades of Alberta we fundamentally believe in Solidarity. The definition of Solidarity is: “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest.” I think I am correct in assuming that those of us in this room share a feeling of Solidarity when it comes to supporting STARS in their success.
I would like to thank you all for joining us tonight for an evening of celebration and fundraising. Please get home to your families safely tonight by ensuring you have a safe and sober ride home.
In an October 9 Edmonton Journal opinion piece, Ken Kobly, President of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, warns that "Community benefit agreements may not work for Albertans".
On the one hand, Kobly raises alarmist cries about special interests, red tape, escalating costs, and workers missing out on benefits, advancement opportunities, and bonuses if Alberta follows the BC's community benefit agreement framework. On the other hand, he admits that the Alberta government has said the Alberta community benefit agreements will look nothing like BC's and that the government intends to pilot a small project first to make sure they get community benefit agreements right.
Why the alarm then?
The BC Community benefit agreement Framework
The BC community benefit agreement requires workers on major public infrastructure projects paid for with public dollars to be a member of or join a union while working on the project. The BC Chamber of Commerce has joined with like-minded organizations to seek a court injunction blocking that province's community benefit agreement legislation. In fact, previous BC Liberal and Social Credit governments dating back to 1963 have had similar labour agreements for major public infrastructure projects. Those projects weren't challenged in court. Perhaps BC's community benefit agreement is not so much new then as it is an NDP government this time. And perhaps Kobly’s attention to the BC example is nothing but a red herring when it comes to an Alberta community benefit agreement.
Let's look at a few facts.
What community benefit agreements can mean for Alberta
Most people would agree that current tendering processes for major public infrastructure projects are not delivering the value Albertans deserve. The Building Trades of Alberta believes that community benefit agreements have the potential to deliver better value. They can be a win-win for developers, small businesses, local communities, workers, the provincial government itself, and, yes, trade unions.
Several jurisdictions in Canada and the United States have successfully used community benefit agreements for major public infrastructure projects, ranging from BC hydro dams to the Los Angeles International Airport. Best practices are well known.
- Community benefit agreements can include requirements for
- Hiring, including local hiring and hiring of disadvantaged groups in the labour market such as women and Indigenous people
- Hiring apprentices (crucial given the pending shortage of skilled trades workers in Alberta)
- Sub-contracting to local businesses
- Environmental impacts and monitoring.
Community benefit agreements are legally enforceable contracts. They provide governments with an important new mechanism to ensure regulatory requirements are met on projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.
What did Premier Notley actually say?
Notley’s address to the Building Trades of Alberta 2018 Conference is available online. In brief, the Premier said:
- Alberta’s economy is unique and we need a community benefit agreement that is right for this province.
- Procurement practices for public infrastructure projects should be about the best bid, not the cheapest bid.
- Jobs for Albertans come first.
- The best bid means benefitting local jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities, and working people.
- Once Alberta learns the lessons from a pilot community benefit agreement, the government's goal is to enact a community benefit agreement provincewide.
That's radical stuff only because it will make sure infrastructure projects are done right for current and future generations, keep jobs in Alberta, train the next generation of skilled trades workers, and benefit local businesses and communities. Those goals seem to be ones that the Chamber of Commerce should wholeheartedly support.
BTA Supports Community benefit agreements
In Alberta, the Building Trades of Alberta is proud to have led the way in establishing
- Best trained skilled trades workers in the industry
- Unequalled skills training and training facilities
- Apprenticeships and scholarships for students
- The best safety record in the industry
- Good, middle-class wages that help to raise community standards of living
- Diversification programs to give women, Indigenous people, and Canadian Forces personnel opportunities to become skilled trades workers
- An enviable record of community service.
The Building Trades of Alberta has been actively supporting community benefit agreements for some time. We are the skilled trades advantage and we think community benefit agreements can work for all Albertans.
Yesterday evening, members of the Building Trades of Alberta and members of Alberta Federation of Labour met with the Honourable Patricia Hujdu, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour and Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault for Edmonton Centre to discuss pipelines, the new USMCA Agreement and its implications for trade.
Topics covered in the wide-ranging discussion included:
- the process for the federal government to comply with and meet the court's recommendations for approval for Trans Mountain expansion
- LNG projects on the west coast
- polypropylene projects here in Alberta
- phase two of North West Redwater
- Community Benefit Agreements
- mobility of Canadian workers to cross into and work in the US
- importing steel and modules built off shore for Alberta projects. .
Thank you to all attendees and to John Desrosiers and LIUNA Local 92 Labourers Union for hosting this meeting.
Each year, the John Tackaberry Future Leaders Award is presented to a deserving apprentice who demonstrates the drive and commitment to be a leader at home, on the worksite, and in their community.This year's winner is Katherine Keagan, Boilermakers Local 146.
Katherine Keagan addressed the BTA 2018 Conference and talked about leadership and how she tries to be a leader in her career.
John Tackaberry's career included serving as a Journeyman Red Seal Glazier with Local 1725, Calgary Business Representative for Local 177, Chairman of the Building Trades of Alberta, and Director of the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation.
John also served on the Canadian Board of Trustees of the International Local Union and District Council Pension Fund, and he co-chaired the Board of Trustees of the IUPAT Local 177 Benefit Trust Fund.
John believed deeply in the union movement, in his many union brothers and friends, and in giving back to the community through volunteer work and mentoring apprentices.
Frontier's new project will add more than $70B to public revenues across the country
During Premier Rachel Notley's address to the Building Trades of Alberta 2018 Conference on Wednesday evening, the Premier announced plans for Alberta's first Community Benefit Agreement. Premier Notley is introduced by BTA Executive Director Terry Parker.
Premier Notley's Statement on Community Benefit Agreements
For years the building trades have said public dollars in Alberta when spent on building public infrastructure should be spent in a way that maximizes the benefit to Alberta workers and local communities. You have said to me many times that It shouldn’t be about the cheapest bid. it should be about the best bid, the best bid for workers and the best bid for Alberta.So I am talking of course about community benefit agreements. Now, as you all know these kinds of agreements don’t currently exist in Alberta. Our economy is unique and we need to do it in a way that’s right for this province, but there’s no reason that we can’t make progress immediately.So in the coming weeks, we’re going to announce our very first Community Benefit Agreement. It’s going to be smaller. It’s going to be a focussed project that we can accomplish quickly. But we’re going to use it as a test case and learn from it and make sure that we get this right. And every step of the way we’re going to be listening to you, your members, and the working people of Alberta, and let’s be very clear: the end goal is to enact this Community Benefit Agreement province-wide. That means jobs for Albertans come first. Procurement practises focussed on the best bid [extended applause].Thank you. So it means those procurement practises, they’ll focus on the best bid and it means that if we’re going to spend billions of dollars on public infrastructure, we’re going to make sure it comes with local jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities, and benefits for working people like all of you.
This blog is the third in our series on Community Benefits Agreements.
- Part 1: Community Benefits Agreements looked at the potential advantages a Community Benefits Agreement framework offers all stakeholders in major infrastructure projects in Alberta LINK
- Part 2: Community Benefits Agreements & “The Skilled Trades Advantage" examined the advantages that unions bring to a Community Benefits Agreement. LINK
Today's blog is about the potential hiring practices under an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework.
What projects could fall under an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework?
In theory, an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework could cover future major infrastructure projects that are
- Private and requiring government approval (for instance, projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion when it was a Kinder Morgan project)
- Public Private Partnerships (P3)
The framework could also cover subcontracts for work on these projects. Crucially, all stakeholders would participate in an open process where the ground rules are known and the playing field is level. The terms of the agreement for each project can be specific and measurable, and the Alberta government can monitor and ensure the fulfillment of the terms.
What hiring practices might be affected by an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework?
Major infrastructure projects provide a great opportunity to train Alberta's next generation of skilled trades workers. An Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework might include provisions that require contractors to support
- Hiring of apprentices, with quotas for Indigenous people, women, youth, and recent immigrants
- Hiring of a required percentage of Alberta workers
- Hiring of a required percentage of workers from local communities
- Hiring of union labour.
New opportunities: These measures could open up new contract opportunities for contractors that hire union labour and for the members of Alberta's building trades unions. For instance, trade union members might find new work on commercial construction projects, such as hospitals, roads, schools, etc.
What are the impacts of an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework for contractors?
An Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework could result in savings for contractors (and the public purse). Contractors will know the targets they have to meet to win a contract. They will know their costs.
- Contractors can decide whether to meet these targets - and any additional benefits they offer - on their own or through agreements with sub-contractors.
- Contractors may be better able to negotiate for tax and other concessions because their proposals align with provincial priorities.
- Contractors may be able to negotiate predictable wages and no-strike clauses.
- Contractors will recognize the potential to save time and money if protracted negotiations are not required. Kinder Morgan, for instance, spent 6 years negotiating agreements with Indigenous communities and local governments.
What are the impacts of an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework for Alberta's building trades?
Alberta's building trade unions are ready, willing, and able to satisfy the hiring practices of an Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework.
- Alberta's building trade unions help to fund numerous scholarships for students interested in the trades.
- Alberta's building trade unions already offer top notch apprentice training. They have world-class training facilities for each building trade, and they have paid for these training facilities on their own dime. They have red seal instructors who understand and have experience applying the latest practices required by modern industry.
- Alberta's building trade unions have a solid track record of supporting apprentice training of Indigenous people, women, and Canadian Forces personnel. And it's more than just talk. They have invested their own time and money in support of
- Trade Winds to Success - to increase the number of Indigenous people in the building trades in Alberta (the participating trade unions have even developed unique 3-day programs for each trade to help Indigenous people prepare for the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training)
- Building Together - to increase the number of women in the building trades in Alberta
- Helmets to Hardhats - to increase the number of former Canadian Forces personnel in the building trades in Alberta.
- Alberta's building trade unions have Alberta workers available, and they want to bring in new members.
No other organizations, not even Alberta's technical institutes, can match the work force, investment, specialized facilities, red seal instructors, commitment to positive social change, and track record of Alberta's building trades. It's not even close.
Time for Action
Albertans and Canadians are all too familiar with recent problems plaguing major infrastructure projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. We don't need to repeat the errors of the past. It's time for new solutions. An Alberta Community Benefits Agreement framework can potentially reduce the time and cost for approvals, align major infrastructure projects with Alberta's regional, economic, environmental, and social development initiatives, and help train the new generation of skilled trades workers that Alberta needs.
Let us know what you think
- Share this blog LINK on your favourite social media.
- Follow BTA on Facebook and Twitter.
- Contact Building Trades of Alberta to let us know you support a Community Benefits Agreement framework for Alberta.
- Contact your local MLA. Tell your MLA “I support the Alberta government establishing a Community Benefits Agreement framework for the province. ”
In Part 1: Community Benefits Agreements, we looked at how Community Benefits Agreements for major infrastructure projects can be advantageous for all stakeholders in a province like Alberta. Developers, local communities, small businesses, labour unions, and the provincial government could all gain if Alberta established a framework for Community Benefit Agreements.
Today, we will look at the advantages unions bring to Community Benefit Agreements.
Levelling the Playing Field
Developers of major infrastructure projects often try to economize by contracting lower-cost, less-skilled workers. Lower cost labour usually means less efficient labour. But the real price of lower-cost labour doesn't always show up until later, when poor workmanship increases maintenance costs. For major infrastructure projects, which are often environmentally sensitive, the real price of short term savings isn’t justifiable.
Hiring union labour tends to raise the wages of other workers. As a result, some employers hire only non-union, essentially freezing out union members. When labour unions are in decline, wages for all workers tend to suffer.
But there are significant benefits when a Community Benefits Agreement levels the playing field and includes provisions for employing union workers, like the members of BTA's affiliated trade unions.
The Skilled Trades Advantage
Many years ago, the Building Trades of Alberta chose “The Skilled Trades Advantage” as its slogan. The slogan is a way of expressing the values and benefits that the members of Alberta’s building trade unions bring to work projects.
“Skilled Trades Advantage” also captures the important advantages that union members will bring to a Community Benefits Agreement.
- Union members are the most skilled and best trained workers in their fields.
- The affiliated unions of the Building Trades of Alberta offer the best trades training available in the province. They have some of the best training facilities and instructors in Canada. If you have any doubts, check out the training opportunities available in each of Alberta's building trades. The trade unions are training the province’s next generation of skilled workers.
- Union members possess the required on-the-job experience and are familiar with the cutting edge industry practices in their increasingly specialized fields.
- Union members get the job done right the first time, which increases productivity.
- Unions lead the way in programs to support disadvantaged groups in the labour market. The BTA, for instance, partners with
- Build Together to support the mentoring of women in the building trades
- Trade Winds to Success to increase the number of Aboriginal workers in the building trades. (for the efforts Trade Winds and its partners are making to bring trades training opportunities to Indigenous people in rural Alberta, check out our recent Trade Winds Partnership Update)
- Helmets to Hardhats to transition Canadian Forces personnel to the building trades.
An Alberta Community Benefits Agreement can help to level the playing field for all stakeholders. It can certainly benefit unions and allow their members to show the true value of their labour. But unions in turn bring important advantages that will benefit the other stakeholders in a Community Benefits Agreement. The Building Trades of Alberta refers to it as the Skilled Trades Advantage - with good reason.
In our next blog, we look at how a provincial Community Benefits Agreement can positively impact major infrastructure projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.
The recent federal court decision delaying construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) project points to the lack of a clear regulatory framework to obtain approval for major infrastructure projects. The court ruled that the federal government did not engage in meaningful consultation with the Indigenous communities affected by TMX and did not assess the environmental impacts of increased tanker traffic on the killer whales off British Columbia’s coast. This blog looks at Community Benefits Agreements as a mechanism for engaging with communities on projects like TMX to ensure regulatory requirements are met during the approval process of major infrastructure projects.
The negotiated outcomes of Community Benefits Agreements can range from hiring requirements for apprentices and disadvantaged groups in the labour market - such as Indigenous peoples and women - to environmental protections and contract opportunities for local businesses.
Provinces, like Ontario and British Columbia, are already using Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) to ensure local communities benefit from major infrastructure projects. British Columbia created a Crown Corporation to oversee these public construction projects. The new Patullo Bridge and the twinning of the Trans Canada highway will be covered by Community Benefits Agreements.
What Is a Community Benefits Agreement?
In general, a Community Benefits Agreement details the benefits that a community will obtain from a development project. It is a legally enforceable contract. Terms of agreements can be specific and measurable. The terms may vary widely, however, depending on the agreement and the jurisdiction. When a government requires Community Benefits Agreements for major projects, it can also monitor and ensure the fulfillment of the terms of those agreements.
A Community Benefits Agreement may include provisions for:
- wage agreements
- targeted hiring of apprentices and disadvantaged groups in the labour market
- education and training opportunities
- sub-contracting to local small businesses for construction, services, and supply requirements
- environmental impact standards and monitoring
- development of community infrastructure projects
- monitoring and fulfillment requirements.
A Community Benefits Agreement Can Be a Win-Win Solution for Stakeholders
Provincially mandated Community Benefits Agreements for major infrastructure projects can have many advantages for developers, local communities, small businesses, labour unions, and the provincial government itself.
Developers in Alberta can benefit by knowing the ground rules for development. A Community Benefits Agreement framework can help the developer negotiate
- community support
- development permits
- environmental approvals
- tax concessions and other subsidies from local and provincial governments
- local workers
- local business support
- skilled trade labour with predictable wages and no-strike clauses.
Local communities in Alberta can benefit by being part of the larger provincially mandated framework. A Community Benefits Agreement can help the local community negotiate
- environmental protections
- funds for infrastructure projects, such as recreation centres and parkland improvements
- funds for training and education initiatives
- employment opportunities for local workers at good wages
- contract opportunities for local businesses
- population increases as skilled workers resettle for ongoing maintenance work
- an increased tax base for the local government.
Local businesses in Alberta can benefit from a fairer playing field. A Community Benefits Agreement can
- include provisions that break large contracts into smaller contracts in recognition of local business capabilities
- guarantee specified shares of contract work
- offer new opportunities for existing staff
- create opportunities for new employees.
Building trades in Alberta can also benefit from a fairer playing field. A Community Benefits Agreement can
- open new opportunities to work with developers
- provide a guaranteed percentage of work
- create new, well-paid union jobs
- guarantee opportunities for apprentices
- help diversify the workforce by supporting Indigenous and women workers.
The government of Alberta can also benefit. A Community Benefits Agreements can help to
- ensure compliance with federal and provincial regulatory frameworks
- align major infrastructure projects with the government’s social, economic, and regional development policies and programs, while also reducing the costs of delivery
- strengthen local communities and local governments
- reinforce local business strengths
- help develop a more skilled and diverse workforce
- ensure lasting benefits to local communities, workers, businesses, and the province
- increase the tax base.
Time for Action
Community Benefits Agreements aren't new. Sure, there's lots of hard negotiation involved. But Community Benefits Agreements have proven their worth to community coalitions, developers, workers, and governments in other jurisdictions. Best practices for successful Community Benefits Agreements are well known. It’s time the government of Alberta considered a Community Benefits Agreement framework for this province.
In our next blog, we look at the advantages trade unions bring to Community Benefit Agreements.
Trade Winds Partnership Update
Trade Winds to Success provides pre-apprenticeship training so that more Indigenous people can pursue careers in the building trades. Trade Winds, the Building Trades of Alberta, and its affiliated locals have worked together for more than a decade delivering programs in Edmonton and Calgary and, more recently, Lethbridge. In 2015, Trade Winds started a new innovative outreach program to offer similar opportunities to Indigenous people in rural Alberta. This year, Trade Winds has applied to the federal government for Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) funding to support its work. UTIP is itself a new program intended to increase the number of women, youth, Indigenous people, and immigrants in the trades. The need is there. A shortfall of trades workers is on the horizon. Indigenous people are under-represented in the trades. And there are lots of willing workers. Trade Winds and its partners hope to address that need.
2018 Participants - Carpenters, Industrial Mechanics, Insulators
Trade Winds to Success Partnership
The partnership between Alberta's building trade unions and Trade Winds to Success began years before it was formalized in 2005. The goal has always been to bring Indigenous people into the building trades. Much of the credit goes to the building trade unions. According to Kathleen Thompson, the Interim Executive Director of Trade Winds,
"The trade union vision started this whole program before truth and reconciliation was even an idea. The participating trade unions have never turned away a student. If we ask for a program, they put one together. In recent years, three unions deserve particular credit: the pipe trades, electricians, and carpenters; they always help out."
Trade Winds to Success offers pre-apprenticeship preparation training to qualified Indigenous clients. It offers these programs in partnership with the BTA's red seal construction trade unions, unionized employers, Oteenow Employment & Training Society , Community Futures Treaty 7, Rupertsland Institute, and federal and provincial agencies.
Role of BTA and Affiliated Locals
The participating BTA locals offer
- use of their state-of-the-art training facilities
- skills training by red seal journey-persons with master instructors training
- cutting-edge industry practices.
Thompson offers particular credit to the BTA locals for their role in helping to fund the program: "Individual union training trust funds, which are funded entirely by union members, have built and supported this program from the beginning."
Thanks to participating building trades unions, Trade Winds clients can participate in shop training in the following trades: Boilermaker, Carpenter, Construction Craft Labourer, Electrician, Insulator, Ironworker, Industrial Mechanic (Millwright), Plumber, Steamfitter-Pipefitter, and Welder.
Millwright/Industrial Mechanic students sign one of the union shop equipment
Shop experience at the Alberta Pipe Trades College
Academic Refresher for AIT Entrance Exam
2016 graduates of our pre-apprentice carpenter program
(2018) Graduates of our pre-apprentice electrician program
Trade Winds to Success Achievements
Urban Pre-Apprentice Trades Training
The Trade Winds urban program focuses on First Nation, Metis, and Inuit people aged 18 years and over in the Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge urban areas. Clients go through a 2-week orientation and 4-week academic preparation program before challenging the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) Entrance Exam. As Trade Winds explains, their clients prove themselves ready, willing, and able to start careers in the trades.
Shop training is where the participating BTA locals really come into the picture. Depending on the trade, the participating BTA locals offer 2 to 10 weeks of union shop training in their world-class training facilities with red seal journey-persons as instructors. Much of the funding for this training comes not from government but directly from the union members themselves. The result? Graduates have the knowledge, hands-on training, and safety ticket and equipment training they need for the next step in their careers in the building trades.
Trade Winds to Success is achieving its goals:
- 1,282 clients have completed pre-apprenticeship academic preparation.
- 1,042 clients have completed red seal pre-apprentice union trades shop training.
- Others have gone on to work in local communities or with local businesses.
Trade Winds anticipates upwards of 280 new graduates in 2018. But it knows it can do more.
This ambitious outreach program aims to deliver pre-apprentice programming to all First Nation & Metis Settlement communities in the province of Alberta. Part of the initiative includes a 3-day program for each trade to help Indigenous clients understand how to use the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) system. Many Indigenous communities lack access to and familiarity with computer technologies. The 3-day program is unique in Canada and wouldn't have been possible without Alberta's building trade unions, which helped to develop the program for each trade.
Clients go on to build small homes in their communities, work for local employers, or start apprenticeship training with BTA locals.
Shop training experience at the Alberta Pipe Trades College
Take Action to Support Trade Winds
UTIP funding can enable Trade Winds to provide training with instruction from red seal journey-persons from participating BTA local unions in rural Alberta. As Thompson explains, "Trade Winds wants the consistent high-level skills training, world-class training facilities, state-of-the-art industry practices, and standards of excellence that the building trade unions provide. They can't get that training anywhere else." And it is particularly important to the success of the Community Workforce Development Program.
You can help. To support Trade Winds:
- Share this Facebook post on your favourite social media. Tweet about the project. Follow BTA on Facebook and Twitter.
- Let Trade Winds to Success know you support its work.
- Let the trade union locals shown below know you support their work with Trade Winds to Success.
- Contact your local MLA or MP.
“I support the pre-apprenticeship training programs for Indigenous people offered by Trade Winds and its partners. The program provides Indigenous people with career opportunities that are otherwise unavailable. I support provincial and federal government funding for Trade Winds to Success.”
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday, August 31, 2018 that construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) project had to cease. The pipeline expansion is to carry diluted bitumen to the Westridge Terminal on British Columbia’s coast. The pipeline had won 16 previous court challenges.
What does it mean?
In broad terms, the court ruled:
- The federal government did not meet its obligation to consult with and explore accommodations with Indigenous communities. That obligation was previously spelled out by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Trudeau Liberal government, however, did not empower the panel that met with Indigenous communities to examine possible accommodations. Hence the court’s ruling.
- The federal government did not meet its obligation to protect killer whales off the West coast when the oil is subsequently shipped overseas. The National Energy Board needed to include the effects of increased tanker traffic in its environmental assessment. It failed to do so.
- The court stated that delays on the construction of the pipeline should be brief. In other words, the court anticipates that TMX will proceed once the specific and focused concerns of Indigenous communities are addressed and the additional environmental assessment is completed.
What is the reaction?
- The energy industry is facing new uncertainties. That will hurt future investment, the Alberta economy, and the people of Alberta in particular.
- Anticipated pipeline jobs are at risk. That will hurt the members of building trades unions in Alberta and BC as well as non-union labor.
- Expert, media, and political opinions have ranged from cries of disaster to suggestions that the setback is temporary. Today, perhaps cooler heads are prevailing.
- Some Indigenous advocates of TMX, like Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Metis, sees the court ruling as an opportunity to finally get the consultation process right.
- The federal government‘s purchase of Trans Mountain for $4.5 million has been approved by Kinder Morgan shareholders. Justin Trudeau and various federal cabinet ministers have reiterated the federal government’s support for the pipeline and their determination to proceed quickly.
- Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has asked for an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and for Parliament to meet and fix the regulatory system to allow pipeline construction to continue. Clear criteria to meet the standards required for consultation and accommodation need to be spelled out. In the meantime, Alberta has withdrawn support for the federal climate change plan, which may ratchet up pressure on the federal government to find a quick solution to the Trans Mountain impasse.
- Update: The Natural Resources committee will meet this afternoon to discuss the pipeline decision.
- With a federal election in the not-too-distant future and a provincial election next year, both the Liberal federal government and the provincial NDP government are feeling the pressure. Now is the time to prompt them to take quick action that will satisfactorily meet the conditions set forth in the federal court ruling.
What can you do? Take Action to Support TMX
- Share this blog on your favourite social media. Tweet about the project. Follow BTA on Facebook and Twitter.
- Contact your local MLA or MP.
“The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project is vital to Canada's national interests. The federal government needs to find a solution that will enable TMX to proceed as quickly as possible. I support the Alberta government’s call for the federal government to appeal yesterday’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada and to recall an emergency session of Parliament to act so that TMX can proceed."
Attention Building Trades Union Members & Families
Join us for the 1st Annual BTA Labour Day Picnic
Free Food, Refreshments & Activities
Food from Local 47th's Food Truck
Watch the Labour Day Football Classic on a Big Outdoor Screen
See you at the Legislative Grounds on Monday, September 3rd, 11 AM - 5 PM
Labour Day is a very significant day on the calendar; it is our day, the day of rest that our work and our contribution to society have earned. Labour Day is not a sectarian holiday, celebrates no individual or group, it is the day that allows us to think about the dignity of labour and the nobility that comes from what we add to the common good and to the betterment of our fellow citizens. For the Building Trades it celebrates the fact that we build, maintain and ultimately rebuild the infrastructure on which civilization depends. Society depends on us to do it right so that others are safe, secure and can grow in order to add their value to that society.
Some people think of Labour Day in terms of fair trade, support to others less fortunate or identifying a goal that is worthy of achievement by way of collective action. The Labour Movement has been in the forefront of social change since Trade Unions became lawful in 1872. This Labour Day, maybe, it is time that we think about what we desire for ourselves and what we desire for others.
Labour Day reflects new beginnings – school is back and the world starts another cycle. This Labour Day represents the final year of the federal government mandate. There will be an election in October 2019. The tide of progressive governments, on the provincial level, seems to be ebbing and ebbing at a very fast rate. This Labour Day perhaps is a day to take stock of what we achieved during the current federal mandate and what might be achieved in the next.
Here is what we, the collective leadership of the Building Trades in Canada, want you to think about in the run-up to the next election.
First, we want you to make sure that you vote! We know there are jobs, work out of town, long shifts and a host of other things that get in the way but there are more ways to vote now than existed in the past.
Second, we want you to think about the gains that the Labour Movement has made over the current mandate and those gains have been very significant.
Third, think about what you believe in and what kind of society do you want to see here in Canada. Governments set the rules, the tone and the shape of society.
Fourth, your hope for your children and grandchildren, everything we do builds a set of steps for them.
The union represents “Labour” and if the Labour is able to deal with government it is in a position to ensure a better, fairer and more prosperous shake in exchange for your skills. Your vote matters and your vote ought to be cast thoughtfully and in the interest of you and your family!
Happy Labour Day!
Robert R. Blakely
Canadian Operating Officer
The 4th annual John Tackaberry Memorial Golf Tournament hosted by the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation is being held on August 24, 2018 at the Goose Hummock Golf Course. The course is located at 23210 Township Road 564, Gibbons, Alberta.
All proceeds from the event go to fund the work of the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation. Thank you to all of the generous sponsors who have already signed up. There are still a few openings for sponsors.
Use these links to find more information about the tournament:
- Directions to the Golf Tournament
- Tournament Sponsors and Hole Sponsors
- Silent Auction
- Live Auction
Remembering John Tackaberry
John Tackaberry went from a career as a Journeyman Red Seal Glazier with Local 1725 to become Calgary Business Representative for the newly amalgamated provincial Local 177, Chairman of the Building Trades of Alberta and a Director of the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation. He also served on the Canadian Board of Trustees of the International Local Union and District Council Pension Fund and co-chaired the Board of Trustees of the IUPAT Local 177 Benefit Trust Fund.
John’s bluster and booming voice could never quite hide his kind heart and the laughter that welled just below the surface. He was a very kind and good man who believed deeply in the union movement, in his many unions colleagues and friends, and in the importance of community volunteer work. He knew the value of skilled trades training, mentoring apprentices, and was proud of the superb training facilities at IUPAT Local 177. Appropriately, the John Tackaberry Future Leaders Award is named in his honour. The award is given each year to an apprentice who typifies John's leadership qualities.
Supporting the Charitable Foundation
It is also appropriate that the proceeds from the John Tackaberry Memorial Golf Tournament go to support the work of the Charitable Foundation (est. 2001). The Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation is supported by the members of BTA’s affiliated unions who purchase tickets in raffles authorized by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. The raffles are held on work sites with contractor / owner permission. Additional funds are provided through charity golf tournaments, like the John Tackaberry Memorial Golf Tournament, curling bonspiels, events at the annual conference, and a 50-50 raffle at the Building Trades of Alberta Oil Kings Night.
To date the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation has donated over $6 million to charitable organizations in Alberta.
Helps Fund Research for Type 1 Diabetes Cure
More than $2.2 million – that’s how much the Building Trades of Alberta and its Charitable Foundation have donated to diabetes research since 1991. The money goes to DRIFcan (Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Canada) to support the vital research needed to find a cure for diabetes.
Charitable Foundation Donations Total More Than $6 Million
BTA created its Charitable Foundation in 2001. The members of BTA’s affiliated unions provide most of the Foundation’s funding by purchasing tickets in raffles authorized by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. Raffles are held with contractor / owner permission at work sites. Additional funding comes from charity golf tournaments, curling bonspiels, events at the annual conference, and a 50-50 raffle at the Building Trades of Alberta Oil Kings Night. To date the Building Trades of Alberta Charitable Foundation has donated over $6 million to charitable organizations in Alberta.
In April 2018, the BTA Charitable Foundation donated $20,000 to DRIFcan.
To learn more, visit the BTA Charitable Foundation website.
DRIFcan Diabetes Research
- DRIFCan is the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Canada
- DRIFcan funds cure-based research into Type 1 diabetes, which stops the body from producing its own insulin.
- Worldwide, 45 million people have Type 1 Diabetes.
- More than 300,000 people in Canada have Type 1 Diabetes.
- Dr. James Shapiro, the founder of DRIFcan and the lead researcher, developed the Edmonton Protocol.
- The Edmonton Protocol is a method of pancreaitic islet implantation.
- The transplanted islets can then produce insulin, meaning that diabetes patients no longer require insulin treatment. They do, however, require immunosuppressive drugs.
- Dr. Shapiro is currently leading a clinical trial of stem-cell derived islet replacement therapy, which could eliminate the needs for immunosuppressive drugs.
- Learn more about DRIFcan.
Careers and Trade Program Going Across Alberta
Training in the building trades will soon be available to Alberta high school students. The Building Trades of Alberta has partnered with The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF) to provide the training. Red seal journeymen will instruct students in the world-class training facilities operated by the BTA’s affiliated trade unions. TEPF developed this Trades and Climate Change Education Program in concert with Alberta Education and the Building Trades of Alberta.
Watch this video to learn about TEPF's work and the important support provided by BTA trade unions.
In the coming years, Alberta will experience a shortage of skilled trades workers. The TEPF program encourages high school students to consider careers in the skilled trades. TEPF's major fundraising activity, the Links & Legends Charity Golf Tournament, is held on August 13 at Calgary's Valley Ridge Golf Course. The fun tournament is your chance to golf with Canadian Olympians, NHL and CFL players and alumni, and media celebrities. Sign up today to support TEPF.
BTA and TEPF
TEPF's careers and trades program began in Calgary. Hats off to the trade unions that supported the first programs:
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers, Local 725 in Calgary and Lethbridge.
The $350 million worth of training facilities belonging to BTA's affiliated trade unions are vital to the success of the program. The 125-hour programs give the 12-18 students in each class hands-on training in world-class facilities, with instruction from red seal journeymen. To date, an amazing 75% of graduates have been hired as apprentices.
Based on TEPF's success in Calgary and Lethbridge, the careers and trades program is expanding to school districts throughout Alberta. Contact TEPF about program opportunities for schools.
The Grassy Mountain steelmaking coal project, located near Blairmore in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, has reached an important new stage in the approval process. On July 11, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Alberta Energy Regulator approved a Joint Review Panel to ensure the coal project meets required federal and provincial laws and regulations, with an emphasis on environmental protections and the concerns of local Indigenous peoples. The review panel will also take public submissions. For Alberta’s building trade members, approval of the Grassy Mountain project will mean new jobs. Find out what you can do to promote the hiring of BTA trades workers. And learn more about how the project can benefit the communities that make up Crowsnest Pass and Alberta as a whole.
Source: Environment Canada
Building Trades Jobs
Construction Phase Trades Jobs
The construction phase of the Grassy Mountain project is estimated to cost some $730 million, last about 21 months, and result in some 910-person years of on- and off-site employment. The construction trades will benefit.
Once approved, labour demand is expected to ramp up quickly. The demand for trades workers during construction will be mainly for heavy equipment operators, welders, millwrights, pipefitters, iron workers, and electricians. Some of the millwright and iron worker jobs could last for up to 2 years after construction.
Ongoing Operations Jobs
Once in full operation, the Grassy Mountain operation’s production capacity is estimated at 4 million tonnes of clean coal per year. Once processed, the steelmaking coal will be shipped overseas for steel production. The project will have a life-span of about 25 years, with operations expenditures of about $225 million/year, and employment for some 385 full-time workers.
The demand for trades workers will be mainly for heavy equipment operators, millwrights, and process operators.
Take Action to Support the Grassy Mountain Project
Panel members will soon be appointed to the Joint Review Panel. Interested parties will be able to make submissions to the Joint Review Panel and ask questions during hearings.
To support the hiring of building trades workers:
- Use social media. Tweet about the project. Follow BTA on Facebook and Twitter. Like posts and remember to retweet.
- Let your trade union local know you support the project.
- Contact your local MLA or MP.
“I support the approval of the Grassy Mountain Steelmaking Coal Project.
The project will create well paid jobs and make a major contribution to the diversification of Alberta’s economy.
I urge you to approve this important project and to support the hiring of the best qualified trades workers Alberta has to offer, the members of the Building Trades of Alberta.”
Local and Provincial Benefits
Jobs: Local communities cannot fill the labour requirements of the Grassy Mountain project. As a result, the Crowsnest Pass and Ranchland municipalities and neighbouring communities will see an influx of workers to fill well paid jobs.
Economic Growth: The project will contribute to the economic diversification of Alberta and spur regional economic growth in southwestern Alberta.
Population growth: The population growth is an estimated 1100 people. The Crowsnest Pass communities and Sparwood, British Columbia, are expected to see the most growth.
Economic opportunities: As young families locate in the local communities, the project is expected to reinvigorate the region due to expanded business opportunities and increased demand for housing, schools, health care, and other services.
Property Taxes: The project will result in an increased property tax base in local communities totaling some $1.5 million annually.
Provincial and Federal Tax Base: The project will pay an estimated $140 million in provincial corporate taxes and $210 million in federal corporate income taxes, as well as an estimated $195 million in provincial royalties over the project’s operational life.
Grassy Mountain Project Facts
- The Grassy Mountain project will develop an open-pit metallurgical coal mine. It is a steelmaking coal and coal processing project, not a thermal coal project.
- Direct, related infrastructure includes temporary housing for construction workers, a coal conveyor system, load-out facilities for rail transport, maintenance shops, environmental management systems, and so on.
- The project is being developed by Benga Mining Limited, a subsidiary of Riversdale Resources, which is an Australian mining company.
- Benga purchased the properties in 2013.
- Alberta Energy Regulator began its environmental review of the project in November 2015.
- The project will redevelop the Grassy Mountain surface mine area, an open pit mining area that shut down more than 30 years ago. The site currently shows the damage done by previous mining.
- Benga Mining has promised cleanup and remediation of the site when the mine's useful economic life is over.
- The project is consulting with local Indigenous peoples and offering employment opportunities.
Yesterday, July 22, 2018, the deadline passed to identify a new owner for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. As a result, the Canadian government is set to become the official owner of the pipeline.
The investment of $4.5 billion means that construction will move forward. What does it mean for the average Canadian?
For the skilled trades workers of the BTA’s affiliated unions, construction means high paying skilled trades jobs. For Canada, it means a new nation-building project that will generate important benefits across the country.
Building Trades of Alberta and the Canadian Building Trades Unions have long supported the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Here's what you can do to voice your support for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and for jobs going to building trade union members.
- Know the benefits that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will mean for the Canadian job market and the economy.
- Take action to support this vital nation-building project.
Tell the federal government that you want the most qualified skilled trades workers to complete the Trans Mountain expansion, the skilled trades workers of the BTA.
Terry Parker, Executive Director, BTA
Proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension Route
1. Benefits of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
On top of the purchase price, Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will result in a $6.8 to $7.4 billion capital investment in Canada. It is a major nation-building project. It echoes previous nation-building undertakings, from the original construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 19th century to the Trans-Canada Pipeline and St. Lawrence Seaway in the 20th century.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline makes us less reliant on the United States. That's one of many crucial reasons the expansion matters.— Keep Canada Working (@KeepCanWorking) July 4, 2018
Watch the full video to learn more about why Canada needs the pipeline expansion. #KeepCanadaWorking pic.twitter.com/40u7RtCT4x
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will:
- generate 15,000 construction jobs, including thousands of well-paid skilled building trades jobs
- increase demand for new apprentices
- provide jobs and training for Aboriginal workers
- create thousands of spin-off jobs (estimate - 37,000)
- result in ongoing demand for skilled trades workers in maintenance, extraction facilities, refineries and other facilities, creating jobs that contribute to Canada's economic health.
Remember, according to the CBTU, "Every construction job produces 7 spinoff jobs in other sectors."
Right now, Canada is losing some $15 billion per year due to low oil prices because the U.S. remains its only customer for oil exports. At a time when the US market is less certain, Trans Mountain becomes doubly important. By transporting raw bitumen to the West coast, the Trans Mountain expansion will
- open up new markets and better prices for Alberta's shut-in oil
- increase pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels
- unlock new investment in the oil sands and result in $73.5 billion of new oil production over 20 years
- create new business opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, sub-contractors, suppliers, and vendors.
Trans Mountain expansion will generate an estimated
- $46.7 billion in new federal and provincial government tax and royalty revenues
- $922 million in new BC municipal tax revenues
- $124 million in Alberta municipal tax revenues.
Pipelines are the least costly, most reliable, most secure way of transporting oil and gas while protecting our communities and environment. The expansion has been approved by the National Energy Board following an extensive environmental review. Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will adhere to strict environmental regulations to mitigate environmental impacts and protect
- farm land
- ground water
- traditional land uses and protected areas
- air quality at the marine terminal.
2. Steps you can take to support the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
- Contact your elected representatives and tell them you support the hiring of building trade union members.
- Sign the Alberta Government petition to support the Trans Canada Pipeline expansion project and lend your support on Facebook and Twitter.
- Tell the Building Trades of Alberta and Canada's Building Trades Unions that you support the campaign for the development of pipelines to get Canada's oil and natural gas to the world markets and win jobs for Canada's skilled trades workers.
Remember, the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will create thousands of well paid, middle class jobs for Canadian families and skilled building trades union members. Take action to support this project today.
Did You Know?
The original 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain Pipeline was also built to get Alberta's shut-in oil to new global markets.
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Timeline
- May 2012 Kinder Morgan announces proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline
- December 2013 - Kinder Morgan applies to the National Energy Board
- May 19, 2016 National Energy Board recommends conditional approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project
- November 2016 Ottawa approves the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project
- January 2017 BC vows to restrict increases in bitumen shipments from Alberta.
- April 8, 2018, Kinder Morgan stops all non-essential work and related spending due to BC government opposition to the project
- May 29, 2018 Government of Canada agrees to purchase Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the expansion project for C$4.5 billion if no other buyer is identified by July 22, 2018.
- Alberta government commits to invest $2 billion once the project makes a profit. In return, the Alberta government will receive equity in the assets or a share of profits.
- July 22, 2018 - The deadline passes and the Government of Canada is poised to purchase the pipeline, pumping stations, rights of way, and marine terminal in Burnaby, BC.
- What it means:
- Construction will proceed under the ownership of a Crown corporation.
- 2018 Summer construction jobs are preserved.
- Assets will later be sold to new owners.